National Early views of nationalist-poet Subramania Bharati
T.S. Subramanian The Hindu Sunday, Mar 30, 2008
Newly discovered writings in The Hindu by a young Bharati are a revelation
CHENNAI: Sixteen letters, two ‘open letters’ and two articles, all written in English by Tamil nationalist poet C. Subramania Bharati and published in The Hindu between 1904 and 1916, have been discovered by A.R. Venkatachalapathy, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. The letters were published in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section and the ‘open letters’ in the news pages.
The first letter, possibly Bharati’s first piece of writing in English to appear in print, was published in the December 27, 1904 edition. It was titled ‘Mr. Sankaran Nair’s Pronouncement.’ Bharati was 22 years old then.
The letters cover a range of topics, including his defence of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo; his attack on Annie’s Besant’s Theosophical Society; a balanced assessment of G. Subramania Iyer, one of the founders of The Hindu; and the difficulties he faced during his exile in French-ruled Pondicherry (now Puducherry). One open letter was addressed to Labour Party leader Ramsay Macdonald on his travails in Pondicherry. An article, ‘The Heroic Ballads of Servia’ (Serbia), published on September 2, 1914, was about Serbian patriotism.